On May 8-9, Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral will present the “Praying the Psalms with Jesus Retreat.” The retreat will be held at the Prince of Peace Abbey and will feature a contemplative spiritual director (William Gaultiere), stations of the cross, meditation in “various ways,” and “Benedictine monks heavenly chants.”
The retreat comes just a few weeks after the Rethink Conference was held at the Crystal Cathedral, in which many evangelical leaders joined Schuller and Erwin McManus for the three day conference to “rethink” global and religious issues. Many of the speakers were promoters of eastern-style meditation as well as proponents of the emerging church. For more information about the Rethink event and its interspiritual implications, please see our research.
William Gaultiere, the speaker at the May retreat, received his certificate in spiritual direction from Schuller’s Leadership Institute. Several well-known Christian leaders also received training at the Institute, including Rick Warren and Bill Hybels. Warren’s and Hybel’s present affinity toward contemplative spirituality reflects the spiritual atmosphere at the Leadership Institute as we have documented for many years. Schuller himself emphasized the impact that contemplative Henri Nouwen had on his school:
All of our students have to watch and listen to Henri Nouwen. I keep interrupting and stopping the video machine, telling them to notice how he uses his hands, to look at the twinkle in his eye, to see how he connects his eye with the eye of the listener, to be aware of the words he uses–all positives, no negatives.
While Schuller’s ecumenical and mystical affinities have influenced countless people around the world throughout the years, evangelical leaders continue ignoring this and standing with him at the Crystal Cathedral. Kay Warren (also an admirer of Henri Nouwen) was one of the speakers at the Rethink as was Gary Smalley, Dan Kimball, and other Christian leaders. Last year Mark Driscoll (pastor of Mars Hill) spoke at the Crystal Cathedral.1 And many other Christian leaders have done the same.
Quotes by Robert Schuller:
From Robert Schuller’s book, My Journey … “I met once more with the Grand Mufti (a Muslim), truly one of the great Christ-honoring leaders of faith. … I’m dreaming a bold impossible dream: that positive-thinking believers in God will rise above the illusions that our sectarian religions have imposed on the world, and that leaders of the major faiths will rise above doctrinal idiosyncrasies, choosing not to focus on disagreements, but rather to transcend divisive dogmas to work together to bring peace and prosperity and hope to the world….” p. 502
“Standing before a crowd of devout Muslims with the Grand Mufti, I know that we’re all doing God’s work together. Standing on the edge of a new millennium, we’re laboring hand in hand to repair the breach.” p. 501